Dance Tryptich (2/3): Titilayo Adebayo

If you had to give a brief introduction to your solo – what would you say?

My solo is built on the concept of isolation. I had a specific day on tour where it occurred to me that life feels like a manifestation of the game SIMS. You start life, you are divinely created, then over time you come to realise that you are not entirely in control of your destiny. Some part of life is fated beyond one's control. It motivated me go deeper with my imagination within my reality. What if I were a SIM? How could I create a glitch? How could I escape the reality of life as it is now, while simultaneously embracing my current circumstances? How does the ego function when I am the only person observing myself? Upon these questions I combined my practice (of dancing to camera and to the mirror) with creating. It's an invitation for anyone viewing and experiencing this to imagine how they can take whatever space they are in, and to transform that space without dissociating from it.

On less serious note, it's an invitation for all of us to take ourselves a little less seriously and to be more aware of our egoic identity. It's okay to not be perfect and for art to not be a reflection of brilliance. My main modes of expression are fundamentally rooted in processing, documenting, going inwards and then to project my insights back outward. It's a raw and honest approach. It is dance/movement as I understand it right now. Instead of waiting for circumstances to change, I'm creating a space to create with/in. They are simply home performance... SIMulations catered to be experienced through an extra-terrestrial space (otherwise known as the internet, the only safe and ethical meeting point during Covid).

Is your solo conceptually connected to the period of lockdown we are living in?

Yes, it is something catered to lockdown. It is a direct response to lockdown and also a homage to it. It is a homemade, DIY and inexpensive space and performance setting. I created a stage with the room and an audience with the camera. It's made specifically for people at home looking to a space to feel seen.

How did you as a dancer whose profession is movement experience the last months of immobility and standstill?

I didn't experience much of a change if I am entirely honest. I train alone in my room and have been living in Zurich away from most my family and friends. I already felt in an isolated space. It felt like welcoming people to a party which I was already stuck within.

How did your body react on the halt?

My body was grateful. I feel the time is necessary for the earth to heal. It also was a harsh wake up call to see the fragility of the world we live in. I've also discovered so much hope and beauty with my immediate circles. I have been able to use this time to do deep healing work and to fully immerse in my own practice. I had mental and emotional space to think more deeply and directly about the state of society, theatre, art, spirituality and my own life. My body is also my mind. I believe its imperative for this understanding to be made clear. If my body is forced to stay still, so are my mind and soul. They are not interconnected, they are one in the same. I am grateful to experience stillness. I initially internalised pressure to DO SOMETHING, only to come to accepting that I am doing enough and will continue to do what is necessary. Covid is not something I take personally, I accept the bigger picture as my own joy. I spend a lot more time meditating and creating from a place of peace and joy.

If you had to decide: is dance more a practice for mavericks or for social animals?

If I had to decide I would refuse. I believe dance is a practice of peace, release and protest. But to be peaceful we must also be empathetic, social and responsive. However, to have the ability to be compassionate, we must also value time which is essential for going within.

As a dancer: have you learned something from being in quarantine?

I learned a lot, most of it that would require a separate interview in itself to unpack. Part of what I've learned is addressed in the SIMulations and Anti-Manifestos. I learned that the theatre world needs to change drastically from the core. I also had time to learn that my meditation practice and connection to spirituality is an integral part of my practice.